I bought a new swimsuit.
For most people, this wouldn’t rate a blog post, but it is a rare event in my life. The days when I looked sassy in a swimsuit have long past. Now it’s more about containment. I got one with ruching, lots of ruching, which used to be a decorative detail. (Now I need it because my body has natural ruching, thanks to gravity. I looked up the definition of gravity, but decided not share anything that uses the word “mass” in a post about swimsuits.) It also has capri length bottoms because, yeah ruching.
As my sister and I were discussing our swimsuit purchases, she mentioned an article she read about a woman who pioneered the modern swimsuit for women, so let’s move on and talk about that instead of ruching.
It’s hard to believe, but early swimsuits were made out of wool. [Insert horrified look here]
Designer Rose Marie Reid had this crazy idea that women should look as good in a swimsuit as they did an evening gown. We have her to thank for inner brassieres, tummy-tuck panels, stay-down legs, elastic banding, brief skirts, and foundation garments in swimwear. She was also the first to design for multiple body types. [Insert another horrified look here at the thought of one-size-fits-all wool swimsuits!]
As I study myself in my new swimsuit (no, there will not ever be photographic evidence if I can help it), I’m SO grateful for all those things because they are holding in/hiding what they can of my “ruching.” I’m also grateful she…
…pioneered the elastic fabric, which also helps hold stuff in. She has a compelling personal story (divorced mother of three who founded and managed her own business in the Mad Men days). Her swimsuits were worn by Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russel and Rhonda Fleming and appeared in the beach party films of the late 50’s and early 60’s (Gidget, Muscle Beach and Where the Boys Are).
I would love to include some images of her swimsuits, but I can’t determine if I can legally post them on my blog, so not doing it. To see them, click over to the Wiki and take a gander at the sassy roots of our modern day swimwear.
And then, if you incline toward geekiness, check out these Star Trek inspired suits. But be sure to come back and tell me your thoughts on swimwear. Are you surprised it took a woman to design a swimsuit that women loved to wear? (Yeah, me either.) Will you be donning one this summer? Hoping you won’t have to?
You know I love comments so much that I pick a favorite to receive my monthly AnaBanana gift basket ($25 value). (And don’t forget that once a quarter I’ll be tossing in something fun from the Perilously Fun Shop!) Recipient is announced the first blog post of the new month.
P.S. It’s a bit shocking, but none of my characters ever go swimming on the pages of my novels. Clearly an oversight on my part. [Makes note to include a swimming scene in the next book. Or the one after that.] There is a rustic, bathing-in-her-clothes scene in Girl Gone Nova, which will have to do for today.